English Open quarter-finals
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Preview: English Open Quarter-Finals

There are just eight players left standing with the English Open quarter-final stage set to take place on Friday in Crawley.

Several star names crashed out on a frenetic Thursday, including favourites Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, and Shaun Murphy.

Indeed, there are only three top 16 competitors remaining, guaranteeing that it’s all to play for in the coming days at the K2.

Mark Selby’s bid for a first title on home soil since 2017 continued with victories over Matthew Selt and Xiao Guodong on day four.

The three-time world champion next takes on Mei Xiwen, who caused one of the upsets of the tournament when he came from behind to edge O’Sullivan in a decider.

It marks the first time in the 37 year-old’s career that he’s embarked on a run to this stage of a ranking event, so it’s fair to say that the more experienced Selby will be regarded as the favourite.

History is on the former world number one’s side too, with both of their previous contests won by the Leicester man.

Selby knows that a triumph on Sunday would not only gift him with a winner’s cheque worth £70,000 but also a ticket to the lucrative Champion of Champions invitational next month in Coventry.

In fact, the only player who is already assured of his place at the Ricoh Arena is Mark Allen, who also features in the bottom half of the draw.

The Northern Irishman appeared to be in fine fettle as he romped to a 4-0 victory over Barry Hawkins with breaks of 129, 100, 89, and 60.

Allen takes on Lee Walker after the latter supported his shock defeat of Trump with a 4-3 success against Gary Wilson.

Walker, 43, has never beaten Allen in three prior attempts so definitely has his work cut out for him if he’s to reach a ranking event semi-final for only the second time.

The other side of the draw includes Tom Ford, the maximum man who compiled the perfect frame in the deciding frame of his win over Murphy.

It represents the Englishman’s second 147 of the campaign, although any prize for Ford is dependent on there being 20 or more maximums made this season in total.

Ford will have a maiden ranking title in his sights in the meantime, with Tian Pengfei his next task to overcome.

Interestingly, Tian may be the lower ranked of the pair as he’s outside the world’s top 64, but the Chinese cueist has three wins from four battles with Ford.

Finally, David Gilbert and Ricky Walden clash in an even looking encounter on paper.

Gilbert has certainly been the more in-form player over the course of the last year or so, with two runners-up positions and a run to the semi-finals of the World Championship under his belt.

But Walden has three ranking triumphs to his name and dug deep in a couple of close wins over Michael Holt and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh yesterday.

Walden has the superior head-to-head record but Gilbert did prevail in their last meeting en route to an appearance in the World Open final last year.

Live coverage of the English Open is on Eurosport and Quest TV.

Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)

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